Global Augmented Reality Toys Competition Launched

Gone are the times where you play with wooden blocks. Digital toy maker, Toywheel, partnered with Metaio, a worldwide leader in augmented reality (AR), to challenge developers to create innovative augmented reality experiences for children’s games. They recently announced the “AR Toys Competition” to inspire developers to test their stuff and battle to build the most amazing AR children’s game.

The competition is open to both developers and non-developers, designers and even children, teenagers and parents with interesting ideas on the use of AR technology in the space and will last six-weeks.

Ultimately, a panel of AR experts will judge the awards in all categories in order to award the winners. The winner will receive 25,000€ in prizes with an invitation to InsideAR, the world’s leading augmented reality conference, October 29-30 in Munich, Germany.

“We are very happy to collaborate with Metaio to host this innovative competition,” said Evgeni Kouris, CEO of Toywheel. “We’ve noticed that with AR apps like our “Toy Car RC” children easily perceive the connection between digital and physical in their natural spirit of curiosity and discovery.”

“Metaio and Toywheel are prioritizing experiences for young people,” said Matthias Greiner, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Metaio. “We’re looking for experiences that bring fun and creativity to digital media and the Augmented Reality industry.”

Applicants may submit their proposals, ideas and concepts to: http://www.metaio.com/ar-toys-competition/ or http://toywheel.com/ar-toys.

Submission ends May 30, 2014, and is open to the international community.

How Can One Leverage Augmented Reality for the Marketing World?

Many brands are now using Augmented reality (AR) for the promotion of new products and services. But is it going to survive in the marketing world in the near future? Here are some ways in which marketers can leverage AR in the marketing world.

Augmented reality is a concept in which the viewer’s surroundings are augmented with digital imagery and data related to the images. Augmented reality is not the direct goal of any marketing campaign but it aims to create an interactive experience for customer engagement.

#1 Role of Augmented Reality in Marketing

According to a research report released by Juniper Research, the concept of augmented reality in marketing through the medium of interactive mobile applications is set to generate 1.4 billion downloads by the year 2015 as brands are continuously reinventing their marketing strategy to explore AR possibilities. Brands like Acer and Volkswagen have utilized augmented reality for product presentation while Starbucks has recently used AR for messaging services. Domino’s Pizza has also leveraged to concept in UK for encouraging passersby to use their mobiles for learning about special deals on billboards and then order pizzas through their mobile app.

#2 Augmented Reality for a 3D Immersive Experience

Traditionally, marketers have always crafted strategies for different marketing channels. Augmented reality resides in the apps channel. It is important for marketers to focus on apps for creating 3D immersive experiences for clients and customers. Aligning augmented reality goals to meet client needs is important before investing in technological and human resources

For example, Audi used augmented reality experience to great effect. With the new Audi app, one can interact with images facing an Audi car, paint it and even get inside of it. One can even interact with the relevant car dashboard. It is essential for brands likewise to invest in development resources for creating augmented reality apps.

augmented-reality-auto-manual-from-Audi
Image creditAudi’s augmented reality

  • A relevant strategy and the means to execute it is important at the first stage. One should set aside budget for creating interactive and immersive features of your experience
  • Partner with adroit and experienced companies who specialize in the technology. Form relationships with them so that it is easier to execute your ideas.

#3 Use of Augmented Reality to Superimpose Points of Interest

With AR, every brand can stress on points of interest related to the product or service and even improve customer experience through mobile app.

Yelp, for example, created the first augmented reality app in 2009 which allowed users to use their phones as an interactive map of directions and several user-based reviews. The app allowed users to be immersed in a 3D-interactive experience wherein technology was utilized to improve the experience of its product or service. One should find ways to superimpose the brand in the store along with a relevant shopper marketing strategy.

#4 Experiment and innovate with AR and a sound marketing strategy

Augmented reality is no longer futuristic that many marketers might presume it to be. As it becomes more refined with time, the general public might come to expect the technology to feature with every app. By experimenting with it now, brands would not feel behind in a few years since they would have the first mover’s advantage too. Experimenting with AR does not mean that one needs to conceptualize future strategies at the drop of a hat and that the plans would work immediately.

New technologies that would impact marketing are going to be difficult to execute but ideas will slowly come to fruition. The right marketing strategy will come to you in time after you have run through several options that did not work.

#5 Leading brands need to do more with AR

Augmented reality forms an integral part of digital marketing through which many brands are reaching customers. Leading brands now stress on survival amidst strong competition from its rivals. For this reason, smart tactics for seamless connectivity are important to attract customers to their product or service. A stellar mobile strategy coupled with a smart marketing message can help the brands reach out to the masses, making the right impression.

Top 10 benefits once AR is leveraged for sales

  1. Improves conversion rates and reduces returns for clothing stores for increased online conversion rate and reduced returns lead to an improved company’s profitability.
  2. Optimization of warehouse space with improved navigation around territory
  3. Combined retail experience and e-commerce to stay closer and connected to customers
  4. Enhanced brand recognition with adroit customer engagement
  5. Better advertising campaigns which direct the user to product video, coupons and the like
  6. A 3D product preview which would work as a demonstration of the actual product.
  7. Additional information about products for better shopping experience
  8. Quick search for deals around by consumers.
  9. Strong visualization of product catalogs with a real-time, scale view avatar
  10. Creates curiosity in the minds of customers by entertaining them with AR-based tricks

Mark Smith is a marketing manager and associated with Luminvision Ltd. He likes to research on Projection Mapping, Augmented Reality, Interactive floors and projection.

10 Examples of Augmented Reality in Retail

From shoppable windows to products that come alive in your hand; the worlds of augmented reality and retail have collided spectacularly in recent years.

The retail landscape is overcrowded and customers are becoming desensitized to traditional marketing methods. That’s where augmented reality comes in. As shoppers turn to a blend of online, mobile, and bricks-and-mortar shopping for their convenience, brands and retailers are having to think of new and innovative ways in which they can capture customer attention.

Augmented reality – or AR – has the power to bring an image, product label or even shop window to life. Customers can see brands and their stock in a new way and engage with them on a completely new level.

It’s creative, innovative, and it works. Customers are lapping up AR integration in store and brands are beginning to take note. Here, we take a look at 10 innovative examples of AR in retail:

1. Topshop Kinect Dressing Rooms

Trying on clothes can be pretty off-putting for many shoppers, especially those in a hurry. Always one to test the boundaries of technology, Topshop has partnered with Kinect to created AR dressing rooms. This allows shoppers to virtually try on their purchases quickly and easily. Topshop also experimented with virtual reality further at London Fashion Week 2014.

2. Shisedio Makeup Mirror

Shisedio Makeup Mirror
Image via I am Fabulicious

Many women struggle to find the right shades of makeup or want to know how things will look before they commit to a purchase. The augmented reality makeup mirror from Shiseido takes an image of a shopper’s face, before showing them what the latest cosmetics products will look like on their face.

3. American Apparel Colour-Changing App

American Apparel is renowned for their colourful product collections, so have turned to augmented reality to make finding the perfect product in the right colour easier than ever before. To find out what it involves and how it works, read Creative Guerrilla Marketing’s full post on this here.

4. De Beers ‘Forevermark Fitting’

foevermark holition

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but choosing the right ring for a loved one can be a difficult task. That’s where ‘Forevermark Fitting’ from De Beers comes in. The AR download allows shoppers to try on the Forvermark collection through their webcam, and see how pieces would look in certain lights and against certain skin tones.

5. IKEA AR Catalogue

In the summer of 2013, IKEA launched their augmented reality catalogue to enable shoppers to visualise how certain pieces of furniture could look inside their home. Not only that, but the app measures the size of the products against the surrounding room and fixtures to offer a true-to-life size where possible.

6. Sayduck Furniture Visualizer

Sayduck have also released a similar mobile app that helps users visualize what certain products and fixtures would look like in their homes. The AR app displays items in real size by projecting a visual replica though the camera on a smart phone. You can reposition the items to any angle and really see how it could look in the space you have at home.

7. IBM App

Research by IBM showed that 58% of consumers want to get product information in-store before a purchase, and that 19% of customers will browse mobile devices whilst shopping. To address this consumer need in a way they are using, IBM launched their AR app. Acting like a personal shopper, it uses augmented reality technology to provide shoppers with personalised information whilst browsing the shelves.

8. Converse Shoe Sampler

The Converse Sampler iPhone App uses augmented reality to allow shoppers to virtually try on any trainer from their range, simply by pointing their phone at their leg. Customers simply select a shoe from the app’s catalogue and see it appear on their foot. Customers can even buy directly thorough the app meaning they don’t need to leave their homes.

9. Burberry Beauty Box

burberry-coventgarden

Another beauty example now, and the Burberry Beauty Box store in Covent Garden, London uses AR in a number of imaginative ways. The most prominent is their nail bar. Here, customers can select their skin tone and then place different polishes on the bar. The display then shows how the polishes look in real life.

10. Moosejaw X-Ray App

Our final example – if you are that way inclined – is the Moosejaw X-Ray App. The outdoor apparel brand lets customers see much more (or less depending on which way you look at it!) that the sweaters and jackets donned by the models. Simply scan the models with a smart phone, and the AR technology undresses the models.

As we can see then, there are a whole host of examples of augmented reality being used in retail. Whether it is to sell a product or simply have a little fun, AR is something all brands and retailers need to be taking note of.

Clare Evans is the Marketing Executive for Green Room; a leading experiential, digital and retail design agency. To find out how you can incorporate AR into your corporate environment, visit their website and read about their multichannel design services.

Smart Santa: The Power of Mobile Marketing This Christmas

According to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2013, there are now 82.7 million active mobile contracts throughout the UK, with the percentage of households owning tablets doubling to 24% in the past year. The take-up of smartphones and other mobile devices has inevitably led to increased sales across the mobile platform, leaving marketers no choice but to rethink and in many cases reshape their mobile strategies ahead of competitive times like the holiday season. Retailers must innovate and embrace new technologies and take advantage of the tools available to reach potential shoppers in this crucial period, whether this involves creating an immersive advertising campaign or even releasing their own branded tablet.

Welcome to augmented reality

With the rise of the QR code comes AR advertising, which teases window-shopping consumers with a ‘try before you buy’ mobile experience. Retailers such as Miss Selfridge, Accessorize and Argos have all taken advantage of AR app Blippar, which allows users to enjoy an interactive experience by ‘blipping’ certain products with their cameras. This includes the chance to play games, explore products virtually by testing them or trying them on within the app, view behind-the-scenes footage from TV advertising campaigns, and share across social media, which in turn offers benefits for both sides of the equation. Giving customers the ability to collate their favourite things, as they might do on a Pinterest board for instance, adds another string to the bow of AR. With shopping guides enhanced by Blippar, consumers are encouraged to build wish lists of products that now spring to life in their hands. Retailers are also adding content beyond the traditional gift guide; for example, Argos offers the chance to have your photo taken with the lovable blue alien family.

New tablet releases

Whilst most retailers have been busy brainstorming with marketers over how to reach mobile audiences, others have gone one step further by releasing their own tablets. Supermarket giant Tesco recently released its first Android tablet, Hudl, for the competitive price of £119. The Hudl tablet comes pre-loaded with all of the store’s service apps, including Tesco Direct, putting the retailer in good stead with the consumer by creating a convenient shopping experience. Argos has released a slightly less expensive device, MyTablet, aimed at the ‘tweenie’ demographic. The move to place tablet devices in younger hands indicates that the retailer has thought hard about what the future may bring for mobile marketing, whilst also offering a cheaper alternative for those families without a tablet device. The managing director of Argos, John Walden, told TechRadar: “Millions of people have bought tablets during the last year but there is still around 75% of the UK population without one. We know that tablets will feature heavily on Christmas lists this year.”

The crest of the Christmas hill

The British Retail Consortium reported that online sales rose 17.8 per cent in December 2012, an increase largely attributed to the growing numbers of consumers using their smartphones and tablets to make purchases online. Coupled with this year’s growth in the number of consumers owning and using mobile devices, the trend looks set to continue for this holiday season. Marketers are warned to prepare for the busiest periods of mobile retail purchases made at Christmas. Victor Malachard, CEO and co-founder of advertising mobile platform Adfonic, told The Drum that the most popular times, coined the ‘Twin Peaks’, are the second weekend of December, ‘Mobile Sunday’, and Christmas Day itself; the past three years have indicated an increased CTR on these occasions (according to the platform’s data). He went on to explain that “joining the dots so that a campaign planned to hit Mobile Sunday could retarget users just before Christmas” is an essential consideration with any mobile marketing strategy, as retailers aim to up their game during this busy period. With UK consumers set to empty piggy banks to the chime of £10bn this year, according to a report by industry group IMRG and consultants Capgemini, the secret is in the mobile.

With over 15 years of experience in sales and marketing, Ben Padley has worked extensively in local and global marketing roles supporting the agenda of the Chief Marketing Officer. Previously, he was the Global Vice President at Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile) and Marketing Director for their UK and Ireland business. Most recently, Ben was Barclaycard’s first Global Digital Director.

Augmented Reality Smashes Through Metrocentre Storefront

As part of the continuous drive to increase awareness and inspire action against drunk driving, Independent Events (IE) recreated the experience of drunk driving by via an Augmented Reality Pop up Shop in the UK. The virtual drunk driven car crashes into Metrocentre store front.

The monitor of their chosen device serves as the storefront that sells car accessories. When the window is uploaded to a tablet or phone, the user will hear a car approaching. The car crashes and broken glasses are scattered across the floor.

They take it a step further by allowing the user to move the device around and see thing happen from different angles.

Rationale

The main target market is 17-25 yr olds. This is what inspired them to create a 3D experience to delivery the message through an interactive set up like augmented reality instead of the traditional below the line or above the line advertising campaigns.

They needed to create something that is interesting enough for people to actually stop and check it out. When they get people’s attention, they needed to make sure they have feel as if something is at stake and they need to see what they have to offer or miss the chance.

After all that, they needed to make sure their experience is good enough to inspire them to tell other people about it and get themselves some free marketing.

Getting It Right

Independent Events knew that even if augmented reality is a cool technology, using it wrongly will only lead to poor engagement and failure to deliver the message. So many campaigns push their app to the public without even asking for the public for permission. It turns the audience off.

The order of the day became to make sure that people will be in total control as to when they want to download the app BUT also to make sure that people will actually be interested in the app.

They made this possible by combining the technology with warm bodies. With brand ambassadors scattered around the event area, it became easier for people to approach the event area and express intentions of trying the product.

Result

There is really nothing unique or new about Augmented Reality. The quality of the visuals isn’t that stunning, either. In fact, it was very raw, almost as if an college student did it instead of professionals.

The success of the campaign lies in the balance between warm body and technology. Users are able to converse and directly ask questions to the brand ambassadors whenever they need help and want some more information. The lessons and other things that users need to pick up are reinforced by the brand ambassadors.

Independent Events made a basic AR activity interesting and, more importantly, effective. And it all started with a clear understanding of target marketing behavior.

Other Information

Please see below for the free download links of the Road Respect app available via iTunes and GooglePlay.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/road-respect/id687322606?mt=8
GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vector76.roadrespect&hl=en_GB